Pre-spawn trout for May
  |  First Published: April 2010

May is your last full month to get into the trout action before the season closes at midnight on June 14.

The first half of May is also one of the best times to chase stream trout as they put on body condition for spawning. This makes them aggressive and provides a lot of fun catching big trout in the small streams around West and South Gippsland.

The three most productive rivers for big May trout are the Tanjil River that feeds Blue Rock Dam, the Tarago River downstream and upstream as this is fed by and feeds the Tarago Reservoir respectively and the Latrobe River as this is a large catchment system fed by many streams including the popular Toorongo and Loch rivers.

The migration of trout in the lower systems takes place from April through to June and sees them travel upstream towards the spawning grounds. This is generally when they are intercepted by anglers keen to have a bit of fun on a range of techniques including wet fly, nymphing, casting hardbodied lures, spinner bladed lures, soft plastics and live baits either drifted or fished off the bottom.

It is important that anglers during this time of the year practice catch and release, particularly in the Latrobe River system (including Toorongo and Loch rivers) and the Tarago River downstream of the reservoir as these systems aren’t stocked and don’t feed into a lake or reservoir for the trout to return to after spawning. This also goes for streams like the Bunyip River, Shady Creek and many of the streams throughout South Gippsland.

Wherever possible, try to fish upstream as you’ll be approaching trout from behind as they sit facing upstream in the flow awaiting prey. Before midday, late afternoon and overcast days are the most productive times to catch stream trout.

Ton Baan from Mooroolbark has fished the Latrobe River in Noojee almost every weekend since the season opened and said it has been a great season. Recently he has had most of his luck wading upstream casting a Royal Wulff with most of his success coming just as the sun pops out behind the hills around 11am when the fly is looking its best catching the light in the water.

When the sun is too high by mid-afternoon it is difficult to get close to a hungry trout. His most recent trip saw him catch and release three lovely 33cm brown trout and one 27cm all in perfect condition.

I had success in the last month landing a couple of thumping stream trout in the Tarago River. On my first trip down there I spent three hours dropping big fish on a #2 Squidgy Wriggler on a small Nitro jig-head, an F5 Rapala, a Crown Seal Lure and on scrub worms I managed to dig up when I had exhausted all my options.

I came home feeling somewhat frustrated but found myself eagerly planning my return.

With a plan in mind I returned and managed a very nice 2kg+ brown trout on a Squidgy Wriggler.


Another fish giving anglers excitement is the blackfish, which can be a nice by-catch and a target species during the closed trout season. Mick from Got One Fountain Gate landed four blackfish and dropped another two using scrub worm for bait in the Loch River.

They are good fun to catch and there are some good 1kg+ specimens around. Blackfish love worms or even small freshwater yabbies under a float or off the bottom in dark pools and they even been known to take hardbodied lures.

Feel free to send me a report or photo and please email me any questions. Happy fishing!

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